Today: Homeless camp, South Bend CW zoning update, Pit Stop Ploughshares, Dwight Smith talks, Massachusetts parish comes out against Iraq war, Darfur, artists abroad.

  • Photos of homeless camp in Worcester woods. We’ve previously written about the camp in Beaver Brook Park.
  • According to a South Bend Tribune article, members of two local parishes, St. Adalbert and St. Casimir, have been asked to contact elected officials in support of the South Bend (Indiana) Catholic Worker’s zoning battles with the city:

    The Rev. Chris Cox of St. Adalbert and St. Casimir said the two churches together have about 2,300 registered families. The pastoral council discussed the issue and passed a resolution supporting Catholic Worker. […]

    “It’s a Catholic entity and institution, and we want to support it,” Cox said. […]

    Although some see Catholic Worker as purely a zoning and code issue, Cox said deciding the fate of the house is a moral decision.

    To say it’s just a matter of law is a smoke screen. This is a decision about human lives,” he said. “It’s a moral decision … about some people sleeping outside this winter or inside a home.”

    Cox said South Bend claims to be “a vibrant, caring city.” The decision that is made in this case will truly define whether that’s true or not, he said. There have been discussions among priests to go to the Common Council meeting in a show of support for the house.

    The United Religious Community, a group representing various religious faiths, also is supporting the Catholic Worker house. A representative from the group, Tom Broden, spoke in favor of the house during the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting Oct. 20. Broden said the house is an important part of local efforts to help the homeless in the city.

    I was just at the South Bend CW, visiting their houses of hospitality, and I have a few biased observations. First, their main house is a multi-story building with a gigantic lawn. Maybe this was an appropriate “single-family dwelling” back when families had ten kids, but not any more. Second, this is a somewhat rough neighborhood, and has no lack of vacant properties and houses with varied zoning. A Catholic Worker house here is a stabilizing influence and true asset to the community. The immediate neighbors seem to realize this and support the house being there. If I was one of the farther-away neighbors, I would say, “So long as you guys run a tight ship, I’m not going to give you a hard time.”

  • Irish Times: “Trial of Shannon war protesters collapses for second time.” Indymedia has the most entertaining account, naturally:

    …Mr. Michael O’Higgins, SC for Deirdre Clancy and Nuin Dunlop, addressed the judge to inform him that, “A matter has been brought to our attention this morning and there may be an issue arise afterwards which will affect the course of the trial. I am awaiting further instructions.”

    Judge McDonagh replied “I await with baited breath!” and left for his lunch on the strength of this bon mot.

  • Here’s a recent radio show about Christians in Orange County, California. It features Catholic Worker Dwight Smith of Isaiah House, among others.
  • Worcester County parish remembers Iraq war dead:

    Thursday, November 3, 2005
    Wartime souls
    BOLTON— The Rev. Tom Fleming organized a display of 2,015 American flags, one for every U.S. serviceman or woman killed in Iraq, on the lawn of St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church yesterday. The display is a way to honor those killed and protest the continuation of the war. Yesterday was the Feast of All the Faithful Departed, or All Souls Day, in the Catholic Church.
    (Worcester Telegram & Gazette story)

  • I first became educated about the Darfur genocide after some friends formed a Catholic Worker Peace Team and went to Sudan to deliver aid and educate themselves. This was in December 2004, and a year later the situation there is still bad. As Nicholas Kristof says in an interview with Tikkun: “Historically, Americans have done very little about genocide, so Darfur fits into a larger pattern of inaction.” In a recent article, Eric Reeves recalls how earlier this summer an American firm received a waiver on the sanctions against Sudan so it could do public relations for the regime. (We have previously commented on the poor quality of the propaganda coming from the Sudanese for American consumption.)
  • Worcester artist Tom Lewis will be in Israel and Palestine this week to present his work at the opening of an art show called Three Cities Against the Wall. The exhibition will run concurrently in Tel Aviv, Ramallah, and New York (at ABC No Rio). Tom says:

    Doing nonviolent civil disobedience is a good preparation for putting together something like this. I’m going to put out an ad: “Having trouble planning complicated trips? Join a Plowshares action!”

Tom Lewis making a print
Tom Lewis making a print. Photo by the artist.

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